It’s Family Features time again, parents! For the next few weeks, we are taking a look at three families and their amazing sleep stories. Meet Nadia, Yeyin, and Suki – three mamas just like you, who were feeling exhausted and utterly overwhelmed by their babies’ sleep problems. That is, they were feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, until they found The Baby Sleep Site®. Read on, and enjoy these beautiful stories!
This week, we’re introducing you to Yeyin, a beautiful mom of a beautiful daughter who was exhausted beyond measure when she came to us for help. She had tried everything – everything – she could think of to help little Haera sleep, including turning to a local sleep consultant, but nothing worked. That’s when Yeyin connected with Nicole, who gave her one incredible tip that changed Haera’s sleep immediately…keep reading to learn more!
The Baby Sleep Site: Yeyin, tell us a little bit about your situation before you contacted us for help.
Yeyin: Our daughter Haera was such a bright and beautiful newborn, and despite some issues of my own (I suffered from Post-partum Depression after Haera’s birth) and some sleep issues of Haera’s, by the time she was 5 weeks old, Haera was sleeping on her own. She was also sleeping 4-5 hour stretches at night. We were told that exclusively breastfed babies woke more often at night, but not our baby. When she did wake for a feeding, I could put her straight into the co-sleeper crib and she’d drift off to dreamland. She was sleeping soundly and peacefully. It was such a dream, and we were so happy to be the lucky ones!!
Well, fast-forward 4 weeks later, our 9-week old baby girl suddenly declared she was no longer a sleep-through-the-night baby, and it felt like it happened overnight. She began to wake up every 30 minutes to an hour, and her 4-5 hour stretches turned into 2 hours. Her naps suddenly became 30 minutes on the dot. At first, we thought it was a phase, but her sleep wasn’t getting any better, it was only getting worse.
The Baby Sleep Site: Oh, yes, that sounds familiar – so many families tell us a similar story! Sleep is okay for the first 6 or 8 weeks, and then it all falls apart.
Yeyin: That was sure true for us. Around this time, I started to search the Internet for answers. We never read one book about baby sleep nor did we know that so many even existed! We didn’t think it was something we had to READ about. We didn’t know baby sleep was any different from our sleep. We thought babies slept when they were tired and stayed awake when they were not. We knew nothing about sleep cycles, sleep associations, overtiredness, optimal wake windows, tired cues, the number of naps per day, appropriate nap durations, etc. We… knew… nothing.
I learned a lot in my research, but Haera’s sleep wasn’t getting better. We had resorted to holding her for ALL her naps (every… single… one…). The routine always started with a really long rocking and ssshing session that progressed to a careful transition into the rocking recliner. She slept on top of our chests. We used the pacifier and reinserted it constantly. We rocked the chair when she stirred. For nighttime, I went to bed with Haera between 5:30-6PM and had her nursing ALL night long in the most uncomfortable positions. She would sleep for 30 minutes, then wake for 2 hours, then sleep for 30 minutes to 1.5 hours and wake, then nurse, then sleep then wake if she became unlatched, etc. I’d try to use the pacifier, which worked about 25% of the time. It went on like this for 2.5 months.
My husband and I never saw each other, and the only way we communicated each other was through texting… By the time he came home from work, I was already “in bed” with Haera. Steve has been the most supportive husband and father, but there was only so much that he could do to help. Haera felt that she needed ME to sleep. I was beyond stressed, and at the time, I thought I was doing what any mom or dad would do. Desperate times called for desperate measures. Needless to say, my dedication to Haera’s sleep turned me into a very unhappy, frustrated person.
The Baby Sleep Site: Oh my goodness, Yeyin – this sounds horrible! No wonder you were feeling so desperate! What did you do next?
Yeyin: I finally contacted a local sleep consultant when Haera turned 4 months. She gave us instructions on how to approach our first night of cry-it-out leep training, and I couldn’t do it. I had a full-blown panic attack and came very close to vomiting from all the anxiety. So, I had to leave the house and implored Steve to stay with Haera. She cried for TWO HOURS until she couldn’t cry any more. The second night, she cried for an hour, and every night after that she cried, and cried, and cried. This accounts only for the crying that was at the beginning of the night, too. There was so much more crying in the middle of the night.
How could this be okay? I asked myself this every single night. I hated myself for making my baby cry. I hated everything about the sleep training we were doing. Fast-forward 10 days: I was done. I was done with sleep training. The crying never got easier, and we did everything CONSISTENTLY. We couldn’t rely on our sleep consultant anymore, and I found myself unable to letdown while nursing anymore from all of the anxiety. I just couldn’t listen to our baby cry ANYMORE, so we stopped following the strict rules and guidelines. I was done, done, done. I didn’t go back to co-sleeping, but I went back to responding to my baby, picking her up, comforting her, nursing her, etc.
But, after ONE WEEK, I was in despair again. The crying before bedtime improved, but the crying following the first night waking (after 30 minutes to an hour of sleep) was particularly blood curdling. I just didn’t understand why our little one was crying so much after having gone to bed somewhat peacefully. I still had so many questions and doubts, but I didn’t want to go back to our original sleep consultant. Our philosophies and expectations just didn’t match up.
The Baby Sleep Site: This must have been such a hard time for you, Yeyin. Please tell me that the next move you made was to contact us!
Yeyin: It was! I finally decided to reach out to The Baby Sleep Site®. I had been perusing their website long enough to be aware their philosophies, and I had nothing to lose with their guarantee. This proved to be the single most effective, and BEST, decision I made with regards to Haera’s sleep.
I had signed up for the 30-day unlimited email package. It was the best value for us because I knew we needed extra time to work on Haera’s sleep, and the “unlimited” emails and responsiveness was something I felt would fit our family’s needs the best.
We were assigned to Nicole who graciously and kindly wrote to us that very evening and gave me some quick advice: Try to change her schedule THAT night. It was simply a moving her bedtime later and treating her current bedtime as a nap. She needed a bit more time to author our Personalized Sleep Plan, but skimming through our initial history intake form, she suspected that Haera was treating bedtime as a fourth nap and then waking up crying for such a long period of time because she was actually AWAKE. It broke our hearts. Why didn’t our first sleep consultant help us with this? She was the one who actually told us to pull bedtime to an earlier time and to “expect a lot of crying,” while Nicole told us to do the opposite and with much, much less crying. From the very start, through a simple email, Nicole changed our lives forever. Our sweet Haera no longer had to suffer through such an incredible and overwhelming amount of crying.
The Baby Sleep Site: Yep, Nicole’s pretty great like that! So you were off to a good start….what happened next?
Yeyin: Within a day or two, our Personalized Sleep Plan™ arrived, and it was so thorough and warm. The name of the publication service is justifiably and well named because it was indeed a sleep plan PERSONALIZED to our philosophies and to Haera’s needs. I still use our Personalized Sleep Plan™ today for advice and strategies.
From that day forward, I corresponded with Nicole each and every day. Haera needed a lot of work. We made a lot of progress in the beginning with changing Haera’s schedule, and then there was the “tweaking” we needed to do based on Haera’s temperament. Nicole has such an amazing skillset: To be in sync with babies. She explained what sort of temperament she suspected Haera had and based our sleep coaching approach to Haera’s individuals’ needs. The most awesome thing about Nicole is her empathy. She would say things like, “Me, too,” and that was all the validation I needed to feel sane and motivated to keep going.
Sometimes (a lot of times), I would vent and write to Nicole in the middle of the night worried and wondering about why Haera was so inconsistent, strong-willed, etc., and Nicole would reply back every day and say she was sorry to hear we were having a bad day, BUT to keep on going and to hang in there! She was the best cheerleader I could ever ask for, and never ever did I ever feel second priority. I always felt like I was her one and only client, and I know that’s not the case. I can’t imagine how incredibly busy Nicole is juggling her responsibilities to The Baby Sleep Site, her clients, and her family! She is an amazing woman!
So, with Nicole’s help, we worked on bedtime and naptime. We went from me going to bed in the worst-case scenario (i.e., going to bed with our little one at 5:30PM, rocking/swaying/walking her in the middle of the night for HOURS, nursing all night long, popping in the pacifier when I couldn’t take the soreness of nursing anymore) to the BEST-CASE scenario (i.e., sleeping through the night with a feeding or two in the middle and no more dreamfeeds). We rearranged Haera’s schedule and shifted more of her day sleep to her night sleep. It turned out we were holding her for her naps for TOO long during the day, which interfered with how much she could sleep at night. We would have NEVER figured that out without Nicole’s help. Although Haera was still waking up at night, Nicole assured us that this was all within normal range. She was waking due to hunger and not because of an association, and learning that Haera was “within normal” relieved some of the built up pressure and made everything a bit more manageable.
The Baby Sleep Site: Awesome!!! Your progress is especially amazing, considering where you started.
Yeyin: It is! Today, Haera’s sleep is far from perfect, but the one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from Nicole is that THAT IS OKAY. Haera’s temperament is not built like other babies who adapt well, who are consistent, who only fuss and whimper and do not wail out and scream their little, beautiful heads off. Haera is one-of-a-kind. So, although her sleep isn’t a model example of what an ideal sleeping baby should look like, Haera has made stark improvements from where she was to where is today. ALL babies are different, and Haera is no exception.
In all of the countless emails Nicole and I have exchanged, the most significant and poignant lesson I’ve learned was that I WAS NOT ALONE. This lesson alone has made the dealing with all the hardships, listening to all the hysterical crying, surviving all the sleep deprivation, and wondering if it would ever get better more bearable. In fact, sometimes I feel quite liberated in knowing that I am not alone. I was kinder to myself and allowed myself to feel frustrated, down, and upset and know that I am still a good mom! Nicole has always made sure to remind me of that!
Although I’m not in correspondence with Nicole right now, I still have email packages that I have bought to use for future use, so my time with Nicole and the Baby Sleep Site is far from over. During the time I am not in contact with Nicole, I use the resources in the Members Area section to help me navigate through the various changes Haera has been experiencing in her current 8/9/10 month regression-related sleep. The teleseminars and case studies were particularly helpful in guiding me in Haera’s current sleep situation.
The Baby Sleep Site: You are one prepared mama, Yeyin! I love that! Okay, before we wrap up – any parting words for our readers?
Yeyin: What else can I say about Nicole and The Baby Sleep Site? They RESCUED, REVIVED, and SAVED our lives… but most importantly and most tenderly, they saved our sweet, darling Haera.
Amazing! Thanks to ongoing support from Nicole, and her caring, compassionate advice, Yeyin’s whole family will be sleeping easier this holiday season. And you can, too! Remember, you can have your own sleep coaching success story, just like Yeyin’s – all you have to do is take that first step, and contact us for personalized sleep help today!
Next up, we have Nadia and her cutie-patootie little guy, Isaac. Nadia has been a client of The Baby Sleep Site®’ for 11 – yes, that’s eleven – months. So to say that she’d had experience with our consultation process would be a bit of an understatement! Today, Nadia’s family is sleeping well, but that was by no means the case 11 months ago…back then, Nadia and her husband were losing their minds over how to get Isaac to sleep. That’s when they decided they need professional help with Isaac’s sleep. Keep reading to find out what happened!
Baby Sleep Site: Nadia, tell us what Isaac’s sleep was like before you contacted us.
Nadia: I first contacted the site for help back in November of 2013. My son, who was about 3 months at the time, suddenly became a cat napper-he needed to be rocked to go down for a nap, which usually consisted of holding him, bouncing or walking, and carrying him in a sling. Sometimes we had to carry and bounce him in the car seat. It was weird, because up until he was about 6 weeks old, he napped 2-3 hours at time for his naps. Then, all of a sudden, he would be up, on the dot, at the 30 minute mark. You could set your clock to it! He’d wake up cranky and fussing. It drove us both nuts!
And bedtime was even worse. I would rock or nurse Isaac down and he would fall asleep for the first 30 minutes, and sleep very deeply – but then he’d wake up. I would re-rock him down, often in a sling, swaddled, and he would drift off again. I would sit with him another 30 minutes to ensure he was deeply asleep. Then, and only then, I would transfer him out of the sling into the bed, where he would sleep for approximately 4-5 hours, wake up to nurse, and I would have to start the process all over again. Simply put, it was exhausting for us all.
Baby Sleep Site: Nadia, this does sound tough. I know so many of our readers have been here – but that doesn’t mean it’s easy when you’re the one dealing with the sleep drama, all night and all day!
Nadia: Exactly! That’s when I decided I needed help, and I contacted The Baby Sleep Site®. Nicole whipped out a wonderful plan for Isaac, which required that first, he learn to go to sleep on his own. The plan worked, and within short 3 days, Isaac was falling asleep on his own! Nicole and I worked and tweaked the plan almost daily. I would write her daily updates (I had an unlimited e-mail package), and she would offer a lot of suggestions and support. Eventually, bedtime became a breeze – Isaac would fall asleep on his own and sleep peacefully until it was his time to nurse. And we worked on slowly weaning Isaac away from his night feedings, too.
The Baby Sleep Site: How awesome, Nadia! So excited that you’ve made such good progress!
Nadia: We really have! It took awhile, but the work has been worth it. Nicole went as ‘fast’ or ‘slow’ as I wanted through the whole process. She also supported me through the transition from nanny, to a large daycare center, to an inhome daycare center, through a move to a new house, and finally, through a transition to an inhome daycare center #2. And that doesn’t even count al the help she gave me in dealing with illness and teething! She truly was there for me through it all – every day, I would email and every day, she would email me back. All told, I purchased months worth of unlimited email packages, and it was all worth it!
The Baby Sleep Site: Oh, Nadia – that’s so wonderful to hear!
Nadia: Now, after all of our work together, Isaac’s sleep is wonderful. He goes down by himself after a quick bath and nursing session at 8, and he sleeps the whole night! He takes on long, 2.5-3 hour nap in the afternoon (no more 30-minute cat-naps!). He is a happy boy, who is very active, and loves to hang out and talk to himself in his crib, without calling for mama. I am now sleeping much better too! Looking back, I realize now that I learned so much from Nicole. Had it not been for her never-ending support and words of encouragement, I would have lost it by now. No joke. Nicole saved my baby’s sleep, my marriage and my sanity. I could not have done ANY of this without her, and I would recommend her to any mother who is struggling like I was. Throughout all of the ups and downs that the last year has brought, sleep-wise, knowing I had an expert to consult with every day was my piece of sanity – and it was worth WAY more than any the money I spent on my consultations! What she does for exhausted parents – and what she did for me – is priceless.
Wow, right! Talk about a big change! Thanks to unlimited support from our team of consultants, Nadia and her family are looking forward to a peaceful, rested holiday season. And while most families won’t need months of unlimited support, how nice it is to know that if that’s the kind of help YOU need, we offer it! We really will go as fast or as slow as you’d like, and we’re willing to stick with you through every step of the sleep coaching process – even it if happens to take you months to reach your goals.
Remember, you can have your own sleep coaching success story, just like Nadia’s – all you have to do is take that first step, and contact us for personalized sleep help today!